Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful time if you’re in a relationship, but if not, it’s a not-so-welcome reminder of just how single you are. In this COVID-era of self-isolation, less social contact, and less social engagement, the pang of loneliness has afflicted a vast majority of people. Here are some tips on how to enjoy this day with or without a significant other.

1. Be Your Own Valentine! 

Be kind and loving to yourself.

  • Learn something new — e.g., binge watch some TED Talks, which are no longer that 18 minutes (long enough to be taken seriously, but short enough to hold your attention).
  • Shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you already have. Write in a gratitude journal. Take inventory of your own life. Find joy.
  • Watch something fun! Turn off the news. Avoid all “romantic” movies and listening to love songs, and opt for shows or movies that make you laugh, mesmerize you or transport you to another time and place. Watch favorite shows or movies from your childhood as they can be a way to calm down, relax, and feel grounded when you feel lonely. Watch sitcoms or stand-up comedy shows. Laughter releases endorphins (natural pain killers that trigger positive feelings). The endorphins can reduce stress, depression, negative thinking, and feelings of isolation.

2. Brighten Someone Else’s Day

  • Try a new recipe, and share it with a neighborhood senior. Healthy cooking is a form of self-care and enrichment. Be in the moment. Then share your masterpiece with a person in need. It doesn’t have to be sweet treats like a pie or cookies, you can make a big pot of healthy soup or chili.
  • Reach out to someone who has recently lost a significant other, e.g., a friend, family member, neighbor, church member. If someone is lonely, even a five-minute conversation can make them feel connected and cared about.
  • Contact someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

3. Stick to Your Own Routine

Ignore Valentine’s Day (along with all the advertisements and store displays) and carry on with your day.

  • Declutter and rearrange your home. Letting go of old, unused clothes, household items, and jewelry can be very liberating and will force you to decide what’s actually important to you. Rearranging your home may help you visualize your world from a different perspective, which can always spark some creativity and positivity.
  • Restock your refrigerator and pantry.
  • Get physical, e.g., work out, join a Zoom fitness class, go for a walk/hike

4. Plan a Virtual Date with Friends or Family 

Keep your favorite activities and traditions going, but do them virtually.

  • Have a Zoom movie night — Spend quality time with a friend(s) or family member(s). Use a streaming service, such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video, and one person plays the movie and shares their screen. Don’t forget the healthy snacks!
  • Have a game night — Bingo, Pictionary, Charades…

5. Destress

  • Connect with nature — Per a 2019 University of Michigan study, 20 minutes of feeling connected with nature can reduce stress levels.
  • Take an online yoga class.

Karen’s Fit Tip:  When you participate in more self-care activities and find ways to give to others, you’ll feel less disconnected from the world, and less stressed, lonely, and depressed. xoxo

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